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DRO: And do you treat it as though you are the one who'll have to sit in that seat?

Ace: I think probably one of the best things for a dragster driver is for someone who's been running a Funny Car to come and run their car. You cannot run a Funny Car on the edge like some guys run a dragster, because you're going to hurt the guy.

DRO: You're not aggressive in the Connie Kalitta or Alan Johnson style.

Ace: I don't think that I'll ever be that aggressive. I won't take that chance. I want this car to run good. This car is going to run good and not hurt itself. That's my goal and that's my intention. Now, to go up there and send it to the other end knowing that it's probably not going to make it but if it does it's probably going to run good, I won't send it. Some things happen that you don't have any control over, and it'll go out and burn it up sometimes, even on your best day, but not intentionally. I won't run it that way.

DRO: So consistency is the key for you then.

Ace: We need to be consistent. We're not there yet, but we're just starting.

DRO: With his family history in drag racing, Doug has that sentimental attachment to the sport. Is that what makes you two a good fit?

Ace: I think we're a good fit. We've known one another a lot of years. I've always had respect for him. His little boy, John, his birthday's the same as mine. Feb. 2, that's always when the Winternationals were. So he always had to come tell me Happy Birthday. I raced against Doug. I ran him at Indy at the U.S. Nationals. He remembers it vividly, because I beat him. I don't have to remind him -- he knows. It's a neat relationship. I'm enjoying it.

DRO: It has to be fun to work with Doug. He comes with no "mystique." He's just Doug.

Ace: It's strange that you'd bring that out. I don't know why everybody thinks Snake's so cool. He thinks he's cool, but I don't think he's cool.

DRO: You want to say that on the record?

Ace: I don't care. You hear Bob Frey in the tower: "There's Snake. He's really cool." Now Snake thinks he's cool: "Yeah, I'm cool." But do I think he's cool? No.

DRO: What is "cool"? Do you want to be cool? Does it matter?

Ace: I want to be successful.

DRO: Is that a departure from your driving days? I mean, weren't reputation and swagger a bigger deal then than they are now? Is Don Prudhomme a holdover from when that stuff was important?

Ace: I don't know. Can't answer that.

DRO: Well, you've mellowed.

Ace: Oh, a lot. The generation we're in now, hardly anybody even knows my reputation. And if they were to hear it, they wouldn't probably believe it because I've changed enough that they don't see me as that today: "No way would you do something like that." You're
right, I wouldn't. [Smiles.] That was then and this is now.

DRO: Those old days were fun.

Ace: Everything was different then. You could get away with things. I tell guys now -- I've told my kids -- They say well, you used to do that! I said, "Yeah, but times have changed." Used to be you go out and get in a fight and the better man's going to win. Now you go get in a fight, somebody's going to get shot. With the sponsorship and all of everything that's here, you go out and you raise a little bit of hell, they get a phone call. Back then you can call all you want; it doesn't matter to me. It's different now. The pressure level in the sport is much greater.

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